Study by training firm reveals how retailers can combat the ‘showrooming’ effect

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Manchester-based retail training company, Beyond The Box, has released the findings of a new study, which reveals how retailers can adapt to the new multi-channel environment and combat the ‘showrooming’ effect.

The research highlights the challenges and opportunities faced by traditional bricks and mortar retail and a skills shortage in retail. The majority of those surveyed felt retail staff were failing to connect with them or their needs and staff failed to explain products and services to them.

Today’s customers are information hungry, price savvy and demand exceptional service, said Beyond The Box. The research highlights unless shoppers can engage with an empathetic and informed retail professional, the chances are they’ll take their business online.

Christine Knott, managing director at Beyond The Box, said: “The modern sales journey often involves a range of touch points, with buying decisions based on a mixture of online, in-store and mobile engagements. For in-store retailers to add genuine value to that journey, they require training to enable them to be better informed, better guided and sufficiently empowered, so they can meet their customer’s ever evolving expectations.”

The research found retail staff in the technology sector were trusted the least, but in contrast, 78% of respondents thought retail staff working in DIY and garden centres were the best at understanding the products and explaining the benefits.

Knott said: “It’s not all bad news. There are clear opportunities for retailers to empower their staff and improve their customer’s experience. Training staff about the products they are selling means they will have the confidence to discuss them with the customer and answer any questions they have. That alone will inspire confidence in the customer and assure them they have made the right decision to visit the store.

“Improving the team’s communication skills can also add to the overall customer experience. Quite simply, the need for a human to human conversation is the reason many avoid online shopping, but if the visit doesn’t meet their expectations, is there a point in them traveling to the store? Not only is training the way forward, service is also key in helping in-store retail play its full part in the new multi-channel environment.”